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Travel Mart: Post-flood Kerala to stress on eco-friendly tourism

Published in Travel & Tourism Friday, 28 September 2018 12:06



•         CM opens Sep 27-30 Kochi event 1,600 buyers from 66 countries, 325 sellers in 400 stalls


Kerala reiterated its determination to weather the post-flood travails by giving a sparkling start to the country’s biggest tourism event, as the tenth edition of the Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) began on Thursday with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan emphasising on safeguarding the ecology of prime destinations and promoting Responsible Tourism.

“The calamity (of last month) reminds us the need to protect the nature, especially for the growth of tourism in a state where the beauty of nature is the prime attraction,” he said, inaugurating the four-day event that brings entrepreneurs across India and abroad to the state’s unique tourism products and services.

“We are duty-bound to preserve and protect the nature…. A place develops itself into a Responsible Tourism centre when the entrepreneurs and the local community join hands,” he added, formally declaring open the September 27-30 festival that comes a month after the state faced its worst deluge and landslides in 94 years.

The KTM ceremony, which began with a colourful cultural evening that focused on the Malabar as a core theme, saw the presence of an array of administrators and bureaucrats besides entrepreneurs and top functionaries from the field of travel and tourism.

Union Tourism Minister of State (Independent Charge) K J Alphons as the chief guest said the post-flood “resurrection” of Kerala has had no parallels anywhere in the world. “Kerala is again ready to receive tourists. The state should concentrate on Chinese market as we are getting far less number of tourists from that country,” he added at the Bolgatty Island function which is a prelude to a string of business meets from Friday for three days that also feature four tourism-related seminars by experts.

Kerala Tourism Minister  Kadakampally Surendran, who presided over the ceremony, said the KTM symbolises Kerala’s resilience and the spirit of harmony and togetherness of the state’s people. “I thank the tourism trade across the world for standing with us and for being a beacon of hope in our darkest hour,” he noted.   

KTM-2018 features 1,600 buyers, one-third of them from 66 foreign countries.

Industrialist  M A Yusaf Ali was the chief guest of honour. The other speakers included Ernakulam MP Prof K V Thomas, MLAs Hibi Eden and  Thomas Chandy, Kerala Tourism secretary Mrs Rani George, Tourism director  P Bala Kiran and KTM Society president Baby Mathew.

Earlier in the evening, the cultural programmes featured multi-ethnic art-forms, predominantly from Malabar in north Kerala. Beginning with a mizhavu thayambaka ensemble, it showcased dances such as Mohiniyattam, Kathakali, Bharatanatyam, Kalaripayattu, Margamkali and Oppana besides Sopanasangeetam music on the handy edakka drum.

Public-private participation is a key feature of KTM-2018, with delegates from the fields of travel and tour, hotels and resorts, home-stay, houseboat, ayurveda centres and cultural organisations. They provide world-class buyers and sellers a platform to interact and promote businesses, giving a fresh impetus to Kerala, where tourism generates an annual turnover of Rs 34,000 crore and provides employment to 25 lakh people.

The KTM, with 325 sellers in 400 stalls, has 1,635 buyers who are top functionaries of firms in tourism industry within the country and outside. Those from abroad total 545: buyers from 66 countries including the US, Russia, Japan, China, Australia and Britain. The domestic buyers total 1,090.

Friday’s symposium will be on ‘Tourism: An Engine for Economic Growth’. The panelists will be Mrs Rani George, hotelier Mr Samir MC and aviation services entrepreneur Mr E M Najeeb.

The weekend will have two seminars. The topic for the forenoon will be ‘Changing Trends in Travel and Tourism’, and addressed by KTDC former chairperson Mr Cherian Philip who is coordinator of Nava Kerala initiative, senior bureaucrat Mr Suman Billa and hotelier Mr Zia Siddiqui.

The afternoon symposium, on ‘Impact of Responsible Tourism in Kerala’, will be addressed y Dr V Venu, principal secretary (culture), RT state coordinator Mr Rupesh Kumar and hotelier Mr Jose Dominic.

The final day’s seminar, on ‘New Products and Interests in Kerala’, will see participation from key representatives of projects such as Muziris heritage project, Jatayu adventure centre and homestays. On Sunday, the public will be permitted free entry, while the KTM business meets at the Willingdon Island are only for delegates who need to register in advance.



Photo Caption


Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan lights the lamp, inaugurating the tenth edition of the Kerala Travel Mart at the Bolgatty Island in Kochi on September 27. Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, industrialist Yusuf Ali, KTM President Baby Mathew, Kerala Tourism Secretary Rani George and Tourism Director P Bala Kiran  Union Tourism Minister K J Alphons, , Prof K V Thomas,MP, Hybi Eden, MLA, entrepreneur E M Najeeb, KTDC Managing Director Rahul R. are also seen



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